GMO COMPASS - Information on genetically modified organisms
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Function Breakdown of starches
Application Saccharification, uses in the starch industry
Production using gene technology widespread
Labelling no


Pullulanases (also known as isoamylases) cleave large molecules of polysaccharides, such as starches, at specific locations within the molecules.

The starch granules in plants contain starch in two different forms: amylose (20-30%) and amylopectin (70-80%):

  • amylopectin is the main constituent of starch and consists of large multibranched molecules.

  • amylose occurs as long chains of molecules.

  • the ratio of mix of these respective starch types determines the technical and sensorial properties of a starch and its applications.

Pullulanases cleave the branches of amylopectin molecules and produce thereby chains of amylose.


Pullulanase is used predominantly in conjunction with other enzymes that break down starch (glucoamylase)

  • in the saccharification of starch: it makes the conversion of starch into glucose and glukose syrup more efficient

  • occasionally as a baking enzyme

  • in beer brewing (not permitted in Germany)

Gene Technology

Pullulanases are produced through fermentation, utilizing cultures of bacteriae (Bacillus and Klebsiella) or fungi (Trichoderma).

  • Three of six preparations of pullulanases are produced in Europe,  with the aid of genetically modified micro-organisms. These are used predominantly during the saccharification of starch.

Labelling: labelling of enzymes in regard to their production using GM microorganisms is generally not foreseen in the European Union.


 GMO Database
GM Food and Feed: Authorization in the EU
GMO Database: Contains information on every GM plant that has been approved or is awaiting authorisation in the EU.
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